Degradation of natural resources is one of the subjects of prime concern that the world is facing today. The increasing human population has given birth to the evils like the increase in pollution levels, deforestation, excessive use of non-renewable resources, etc. All these have raised a question mark on the availability of natural resources. In this section, we will discuss some of the practices which lead to improper resource utilization resulting in their degradation.
Degradation by Improper Utilization and Maintenance of Natural Resources
- Soil erosion and desertification: A form of soil degradation, soil erosion is the blowing or washing away of the topsoil by agents such as water and wind. Some of the main causes of soil erosion are malpractices such as overstocking, overgrazing, deep plowing, over-cultivation for crop production, deforestation, lack of crop rotation, improper surface drainage, monoculture, excessive use of fertilizers, etc. Soil erosion drastically affects the soil fertility and renders it useless. In the extreme cases, it may leave patches of land dry and increasingly arid, losing its wildlife and vegetation over time. This is known as desertification and is one of the most common environmental problems gripping the world today.
- Water-logging and soil salinity: In simple terms, waterlogging is the presence of an excess of water in the soil. The water table of the groundwater becomes too high to facilitate any agricultural activity in the soil. Improper irrigation practices coupled with inadequate drainage system is the major cause of waterlogging. This, in turn, affects the salt content by drawing the salt up to the surface of the soil. The increased salt content has detrimental effects on agriculture. It severely affects plant growth and yields as the soil becomes vulnerable.
These are some of improper utilization and maintenance of our already limited natural resources which cause their degradation.
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